Tromsø , Norwich… & northern lights

Hello!!

Time for an update!! It’s taken me forever, I know. I’ve been busy, have been back to Norwich for a while. It’s a bit weird to go straight from winter to spring…

Tromsdalen Norwich

It was nice to be back at UEA for a bit and see everybody there. Unfortunately I had a nasty cold and spend half my time in bed, but I still managed to see everybody and really enjoyed it. I didn’t take many photos so thanks to Karla for those nice ones :)

Norwich Norwich

I did take a photo on a very misty morning… this is my favourite tree on campus :)

UEA Norwich

I came back to Tromsø in the middle of a snow storm, rough landing! It has been snowing a lot for a couple of days. It’s amazing how much snow there is… there’s a car I can see from the flat that hasn’t been moved for a while and it’s completely buried now! Big icicles are growing on our balcony, we took one inside…

Tromsø

We bought spike tires for our bikes a few weeks ago. They are incredible! I was very sceptical on how well they would work, but it’s just like cycling on a normal road with no ice… The most dangerous thing is getting off your bike when you have forgotten how icy the road is! But I find cycling here very exhausting, too many hills!! ;)

Tromsø Tromsø

The northern lights are pretty active tonight, I took these photos from our balcony! It’s great to be able to take photos like that, though I’d like to go somewhere darker at some point. It’s a pity photos can never truly show what the northern lights are like… it was moving a lot, with beams shooting across the sky and sometimes showing pink and red… very impressive!

Tromsø Tromsø

Tromsø Tromsø

We’re going skiing tomorrow! We rented skies for the whole weekend, should be fun :) My only cross country skiing experience was 4 years ago for an hour… it was exhausting! I’m more into downhill skiing… so we’ll see how this goes. I was glad to see that they come with very comfortable shoes!

Also we’re going to a concert and reception organized by the Dutch ambassador… I’m curious to meet all the Dutch who live here, apparently there are many! (I’m hoping for bitterballen at the reception hehe)

Hopefully I can upload some photos of the weekend soon!

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11 Responses to “Tromsø , Norwich… & northern lights”

  1. Ben says:

    Nice read and great pictures! I’m going to Tromsø in Janurary and I’m hoping to do some cycling, just on the roads. Is it necessary to use studded tyres? If so, are they suitable also for non-icy roads? Any advice you can give would be great.

    Ben

  2. Hanneke says:

    Hi Ben,

    Thanks! I asked my boyfriend what advice he has for you, he’s the bike expert ;) This is what he says:

    I think you definitely need spikes for roads. In thicker snow found off road knobblies might be ok, but on icy roads you really need the spikes. The spikes are also fine on non-icy roads – it doesn’t wear them out, and they grip acceptably – they just sound funny. In fact you are supposed to ride with them on non-icy roads for the first 50km after you buy them to push the spikes in properly. You can’t do this if you buy them after it’s already icy and a few of mine have fallen out!

    My other advice is the spikes only work on hardish ice/snow. If it turns to soft slush they have nothing solid to stick in to. When the ice melts the cars make shallow ruts in the ice and I usually end up riding these ruts, but it can be quite hard to get out of an icy rut quickly. Riding in traffic is quite hard work when the ice is melting on warm days.

    I bought a pair of schwalbe ice spikers. They cost about £100 for a pair in Norway but only about £50 in the UK – so maybe buy before you get here…

    Good luck! Do let me know if there’s anything else you want to ask about Tromso… we’ll be around for most of January, so could even meet up :)

  3. Ben says:

    Thanks for your reply. I was hoping I’d just be able to get some ultra wide tires with deep ridges, but if you say spikes are needed I’ll get hold of some. I’ve read some mixed reviews about the schwalbe ice spikers so I’ll do some more research.

    Thanks again!

    Ben

  4. Ben says:

    I went for the schwalbe ice spikers and they’re great. Looging forward to trying them on icy roads.

    Thanks again, and I can’t wait to go to Tromsø!

  5. Paul says:

    Cool! Have you decided where you’re going to cycle yet?

  6. Ben says:

    No. I’ll mainly be using my bike to get around town, since I’m staying with friends a few miles from the centre in Kroken. I’d like to cycle to rural areas too, maybe as far as Fagernes, but I don’t know how far I’ll be able to get in the limited daylight.

    Do you know anywhere worth seeing that is easily accessible by bike?

  7. Paul says:

    A bike wil be a good way to get in to town from Kroken. With the short days you might not go much further though.

    A nice ride is from Tromso over the bridge to Kvaloya(island) then turn left and head towards Sommaroy (small island connected by another bridge). It’s 60km to Sommaroy though – which is probably a bit too far. Although there is a cafe there where you could wait. If you cycled one-way and got picked up it might be nice.

    The snow on the roads will slow you down a bit too.

    You probably don’t want to cycle in the tunnels to and on Tromso island, as they are almost motorways -but futher away they should be ok.

    You can put your bike on the Hurtigruten for very little money. I thought about cycling from Tromso to Skjervoy (via Lyngen) and getting the Hutigurten back. The problem is that the tunnels involved have long and steep gradients in them. Probably a bit long for the short days in Jan. too.

    Anyways, have fun whatever you decide!

  8. Ben says:

    Skjervoy might be a little too far, I hadn’t planned on camping. :D

    Is the Hurtigruten expensive? And how far in advance would I need to book it?

    Takk for hjelpen. :)

  9. Paul says:

    On the main coastal ferry you don’t have to book when you are bringing a bike. It’s pretty unlikely that the ship would be so full it couldn’t take one foot passenger.

    The price for a bike is 10% of the carprice. So Tromsø – Skjervøy would be about £3.50 one way.

    But! it might be a different story for the small high-speed ferries. You’d have to ask Hutigruten. They’ll speak perfect English.

  10. Ben says:

    I’ve just tried riding for the first time with both Ice Spikers on. It’s much harder than with just one, I don’t know if it’s because the grip is different on the road, or just because they make the bike heavier, but it takes a lot more effort even on straight flat roads. Have you found this so? Is it a case of ‘wearing them in’, or should I just revert to riding with one?

  11. Anonymous says:

    I’ve never tried riding with just one. I think I would fall off quite quickley if I didn’t have them on both wheels! Paul